Twenty-First Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Twenty-First Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Extraordinary)


held in Moscow Jan. 27 to Feb. 5, 1959. There were 1,261 delegates present with deciding votes and 106 with consultative votes, representing 7,622,356 party members and 616,775 candidate members.

The composition of the congress, in terms of delegates with deciding votes, was as follows: 355 were employed in industry, construction, and transportation and 175 in agriculture; 73.3 percent of the delegates had received a higher or an incomplete higher or secondary education; 12.7 percent were 35 or under, 8.4 percent between 36 and 40, 47.8 percent between 41 and 50, and 31.1 percent were over 50; eight delegates had joined the party before the Great October Socialist Revolution, 37 between 1917 and 1920, 19.9 percent between 1921 and 1930, 33.8 percent between 1931 and 1940, 21.7 percent between 1941 and 1945, and 21.1 percent in 1946 or later. There were 222 women elected as delegates (17.5 percent of the delegates with deciding votes). Among the delegates to the congress were 51 Heroes of the Soviet Union and 158 Heroes of Socialist Labor. Delegations from 72 foreign Communist and labor parties were present.

The agenda included control figures on the economic development of the USSR from 1959 to 1965 (N. S. Khrushchev was the reporter.) In carrying out the decisions of the Twentieth Congress of the CPSU (1956), the Soviet people under the leadership of the CPSU had achieved new successes in the building of communism. It was concluded at the Twenty-first Congress that socialism in the USSR had gained a complete and definitive victory and the Soviet land was entering a period of full-scale construction of communist society. The most important tasks of the period were to establish the material-technological basis for communism, to ensure the further strengthening of the USSR’s economic and defensive strength, and to attain at the same time more complete satisfaction of the growing material and cultural needs of the people.

It was noted in the congressional documents that with the building of socialism beyond one country a world socialist system had been organized and there was no longer a capitalist encirclement of the USSR. Two world social systems exist—capitalism, which is outliving its age, and socialism, which is growing and becoming stronger. The congress noted that in the world today there are no forces able to restore capitalism in the USSR or destroy the socialist camp; the danger of the restoration of capitalism in the USSR is eliminated. The congress approved the activities of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the important measures it had implemented in the areas of domestic and foreign policy.

The control figures on the USSR’s 1959–65 economic development were approved by the congress. The party’s primary aims in the area of economics were defined as all-round development of the country’s productive forces; the achievement of this development in all branches of the economy, which would permit a decisive step to be taken in establishing the material-technological basis of communism and ensuring the USSR’s victory in peaceful economic competition with the capitalist countries; and a significant rise in the people’s living standard. The country’s political aims were defined as further strengthening the Soviet socialist order and the development of Soviet democracy, activity, and initiative by the masses in the building of a communist society; expanding the functions of social organizations in settling questions of state; increasing the organizational and educational role of the party and the socialist state; and strengthening as much as possible the workers’ and peasants’ alliance and the amity among Soviet peoples. In the area of ideology the aims were defined as intensifying the party’s ideological and educational work; raising the communist consciousness of the workers, especially the younger generation, and educating them in the spirit of the communist attitude toward labor, Soviet patriotism, and internationalism; and overcoming the traces of capitalism in the people’s consciousness and struggling against bourgeois ideology.

In the area of international relations, the congress set the objectives of consistently pursuing a foreign policy aimed at maintaining and strengthening peace and the security of peoples on the basis of the Leninist principle of peaceful coexistence of countries with different social systems and strengthening as much as possible the world socialist system and the cooperation of sister nations.


Vneocherednoi XXI s”ezd KPSS: Stenograficheskiiotchet, vol. 1–2. Moscow. 1959.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.